- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Justice Department has offered former Trump administration official Kash Patel immunity in exchange for testimony before a grand jury probing the former president’s storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, according to a recent report.

With those protections in place, Mr. Patel is reportedly set to reappear before the grand jury soon after appearing last month and invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

By offering Mr. Patel immunity, the Justice Department will be limited to information obtained outside of his testimony before the grand jury, should they seek charges against him.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the details.

Mr. Patel‘s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FBI removed more than 11,000 documents, including approximately 100 marked classified, during a raid on Mr. Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in August.

The raid sparked a wide-ranging probe into the former president’s potential mishandling of classified information.

Mr. Patel, who served as an aide in both the White House and Pentagon under the former president, has argued that Mr. Trump retained broad authority to declassify documents when he left office in January 2021.

“Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves,” Mr. Patel told Breitbart News in May. “I was there with President Trump when he said, ‘We are declassifying this information.’”

In June, Mr. Trump named Mr. Patel and journalist John Solomon as his representative to the National Archives to access non-public documents related to the Russia probe against the former president which had been previously declassified.

“John Solomon and Kash Patel have been named NARA representatives. They will work to make available to the American people previously declassified documents that reveal a clear conspiracy to unlawfully spy on candidate and then President Donald J. Trump — by the FBI, DOJ, and others — the largest state-sponsored criminality in American history,” Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington told Politico in June.

Mr. Trump has continued to argue that the record seized from Mar-a-Lago had been declassified despite still bearing classification markings.

In September, Mr. Trump told Fox News that he had the authority to declassify documents without a formal review process.

“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” Mr. Trump said. “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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